A couple of weekends ago I had the pleasure of experiencing a first in my life: a real Southern homecoming. This was no high school football game complete with king and queen, but an actual small town homecoming. Okay, it was technically a church homecoming, but in tiny Bostwick, Georgia, it's one and the same.
Walter and I joined his father, his fathers' father, and quite a few other Thompsons on a beautiful September day filled with food, family, and fellowship. Among the highlights of such a joyous occasion, besides catching up with long lost friends and relatives, was the potluck that brought everyone together. The atmosphere felt spirited, and the attitude was "come as you are and bring what you can," even if it's only your appetite.
An event based entirely around Southern home cooking, in my opinion at least, is nothing short of momentous; in fact, I live for eating experiences like these. As I impatiently waited for the banquet room doors to open, I couldn't help but peek through the glass portholes to admire the rows and rows of country cooking. Despite the tiny windows being fogged with my warm breath, I could see everything from deviled eggs and fried chicken, to countless creamy casseroles waiting before me. (And yes, perhaps I slipped out of church service early to garner a first place in line. But can you blame me?)
In the name of research, I felt obliged to sample every bite I could muster. I found the biggest plate available and scooped heaps from every Pyrex dish I saw. And still it just kept coming. I deliriously devoured whatever food came my way, even if it meant sneaking extra bites from my unassuming tablemates. Walt's family, bless them, watched in shock and awe. Not without judgement but with sheer amazement (I hope). I'm not sure they've ever seen another girl with as much passion to eat!
Everything was wonderful; it was like the best Thanksgiving you could imagine. Right in front of me was the very cuisine that represented the end of a culinary era: bright green jello fluff and canned mushroom soup may not be en vogue anymore, but on that lovely day in that lovely town, nothing could taste better. Delicious food, made with love, and deserving of nothing but praise. Food snobs be damned, this is Southern fare at it's finest.
Hey, I may have gained five pounds that day, but I can tell you one thing. I can't wait until next year! (That gives me 365 days to get in shape.)